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  1. #1
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    Health Insurance

    I am sure there are some self-employed people on the board or folks that have jobs where their employer doesn't provide health insurance benefits. I was just curious who people have insurance through, what type of coverage they have (HSA, copay, etc.) and if the premiums are reasonable. My wife and I are going to be in a situation where we have to get our own insurance in the near future. Thanks



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    Re: Health Insurance

    My employer offers insurance, but it's not a great deal and the prescription programs sucks so my son and I are on our own plan. I get it through Wellmark BCBS, premiums are very reasonable, we have one of the middle of the road plans as far as deductibles with copays, his regular checkups are 100% covered, and a decent prescription plan. Works out well for us. My wife has great benefits being a teacher, but to add people to her plan is outrageous.


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    Re: Health Insurance

    I can't speak to the individual carriers. However, I can speak a little bit to the HSA (Health Savings Account)/HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan)combination.

    These types of plans can often work better for the individual and the employer. In my experience, those individuals/families that either have low medical bills or bills well in excess of the HDHP deductible usually come out better with the HSA/HDHP combination. It's a much more complicated topic than that, but from what I've seen it's a good rule of thumb.

    Also - those of you that own your own businesses - there are other things that can be done to reduce your overall expenses and take advantage of the tax code as it relates to health insurance. Included among these is being partially self-insured. Again, another complex topic. I must be in the minority in this opinion because I believed these were going to take off several years ago, but it didn't happen. The numbers clearly work.

    Lastly, also if you're self-employed, the structure of your entity will greatly affect your ability to structure benefits - specifically those that fall under the section 125 umbrella.


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    Re: Health Insurance

    I have a $5000 deductible policy and I pay $50 per month.

    It doesn't cover anything at all unless I spend over $5k in a year on medical expenses.

    I get it through a industry organization for a business I own. The company is called Celtic something or other.



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    Re: Health Insurance

    We have a family plan with Blue Cross/Shield (through Farm Bureau) that has pretty decent prems ($420) and coverage (no preg though) but with a $30 co-pay. Of course, it's good that I can write part of my premiums off come tax time. (Deductible is $1,750.)



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    Re: Health Insurance

    My parents who have their own policy through BCBS pay approx $1600 per month for health insurance premiums



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    Re: Health Insurance

    If I remember correctly the plan for my son and I is $150/month with $1000 deductible, Wellmark.


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    Re: Health Insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by cytech View Post
    My parents who have their own policy through BCBS pay approx $1600 per month for health insurance premiums
    Holy wow, that's a lot of coin.


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    Re: Health Insurance

    My daughter and I are also on our own plan. Whats insane is for both of us combined it costs lets that if my fiance got her own by herself!

    Anyway, its about $200 a month, 90/10 plan, so depending on the checkup, we only pay 10% of the total! It was actually far better than the coverage provided by my employer.

    EDIT: Its also through Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield.


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    Re: Health Insurance

    I sell health insurance. I am appointed with basically all the carriers in the state.

    What kind of coverage you want really is very dependent on the individual and the family.

    IMO, HSA's are a very good thing in many circumstances, but not all. Many times for example, I will write a Blue Cross plan for the 'Mom', and an HSA plan for the rest of the family.

    PM or email (cr_walters@yahoo.com) me with some further details about your family and I will give you some better direction.


    (sorry Jeremy, I'm not trying to sell insurance on your site!)



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    Re: Health Insurance

    I'm a big fan of HDHP/HSA. Premiums are generally VERY reasonable, but you make up for it with a relatively high deductible (up to 5k in some cases). The plus side is that you can put away up to the deductible in a health savings account, which is 100% tax deductible. The HSA works a bit like a flex spending account, save that it rolls over between years. i.e. if you put away 2500 dollars in 2007 and do not use it, the balance rolls over to 2008 and you can put another 2500 on top of it. The HSA money can be spent on any qualifying medical expense, even if it's not covered by your insurance policy. Over the counter medication, contacts, glasses, LASIK, etc. are all payable out of your HSA, and so you're getting all of those things bought for with pre-tax money. You generally get an HSA debit card that you can use to pay for all your medical expenses, which is very convenient - far more so than filling out paperwork like you generally have to do for a flex account.

    Generally speaking, the combination of the premiums for a HDHP and the HSA contributions will be in the ballpark of what you (and your employer) would pay on average for a health care plan through an employer (in the 12k range).

    Group HSAs are awesome if you have minimal medical expenses, or you're likely to meet your out of pocket maximum every year for a traditional policy. The problem with non-group HSAs (and non-group policies in general) is that insurance companies have a much broader range of options in case you end up costing them too much, including raising premiums significantly.


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  12. #12
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    Re: Health Insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by jumbopackage View Post
    I'm a big fan of HDHP/HSA. Premiums are generally VERY reasonable, but you make up for it with a relatively high deductible (up to 5k in some cases). The plus side is that you can put away up to the deductible in a health savings account, which is 100% tax deductible. The HSA works a bit like a flex spending account, save that it rolls over between years. i.e. if you put away 2500 dollars in 2007 and do not use it, the balance rolls over to 2008 and you can put another 2500 on top of it. The HSA money can be spent on any qualifying medical expense, even if it's not covered by your insurance policy. Over the counter medication, contacts, glasses, LASIK, etc. are all payable out of your HSA, and so you're getting all of those things bought for with pre-tax money. You generally get an HSA debit card that you can use to pay for all your medical expenses, which is very convenient - far more so than filling out paperwork like you generally have to do for a flex account.

    Generally speaking, the combination of the premiums for a HDHP and the HSA contributions will be in the ballpark of what you (and your employer) would pay on average for a health care plan through an employer (in the 12k range).

    Group HSAs are awesome if you have minimal medical expenses, or you're likely to meet your out of pocket maximum every year for a traditional policy. The problem with non-group HSAs (and non-group policies in general) is that insurance companies have a much broader range of options in case you end up costing them too much, including raising premiums significantly.
    Very well put. I didn't want to go into this much detail, as I don't want Jeremy to think I am hocking my wares on his site. However, a couple other tidbits, there is one HSA right now getting 6.5% interest, and once your retire all the money left in your HSA essentially becomes available to you as an IRA.



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    Re: Health Insurance

    I used to buy my own insurance. The thing I remember is you get what you pay for. Don't just buy the cheapest insurance you can find. Even if the cheapest insurance sounds good enough, there are probably a million loopholes about what isn't covered.



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    Re: Health Insurance

    I have had a HDHP/ HSA individual plan from American Republic in Des Moines for over 4 years. The tax advantage is great and it lowers the cost. I just paid for outpatient procedure with tax free dollars, got a PPO price and a discount for CASH!
    My tax savings alone pays for 5 months coverage!



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    Re: Health Insurance

    Thanks a lot for all the info...a lot of things to consider but it sounds like BCBS is a good carrier with reasonable prices.



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